I wanted to explore other parts of the island my second day in Bali, so I hired a driver to take me around. Since everything is so cheap in Bali, the airport transfer both ways plus a whole day of driving came out less than $75 USD. I had a few activities that I had picked out, and Yudana helped fill out the itinerary with some suggestions. Overall, I would say that this was the highlight of the weekend for me because Bali has so much more to offer than beaches!
Monkey Forest, Ubud
It’s a forest full of monkeys and they climb on you and do adorable things! What else is there to say? (Warning: Lots of monkey pictures ahead.)
Not sure what this guy is doing, but I watched him lick this concrete block for a minute.
They sell bananas inside the forest which I used to lure monkeys on to me for pictures!
Another bonus to having a driver is you have a built-in photographer to capture all the monkey shots, like this one of two monkeys scaling me:
This guy just grabbed the banana and ran, rude.
LOOK AT THIS CUTE BABY MONKEY EATING A LEAF!! It was amazing to me that the monkeys weren’t at all startled by people. They must be used to seeing them.
This guy was cracking me up. Sitting on this tree, doing his thing. I like to think he was a Grandpa Monkey
This picture actually made me kind of sad. I think the baby monkey was scared and the parents were trying to keep him safe (there were quite a few people around at this point).
Nasi Campur for Lunch
After the monkey forest was a quick stop for lunch. Balinese cuisine consists of seafood and meat heavily seasoned with local spices with some Indian and Chinese influence. I’d previously read that the one “must-try” dish in bali is Nasi Campur, which is a mixed plate of tasty Balinese things served with rice. The best thing about Nasi Campur is that you don’t have to pick anything, the best things you can find in Indonesia are just plated for your enjoyment.
Some of the items ready to be plated.
Okay, I’ll admit that it’s not super tasty looking, but just trust me when I say it’s delicious, ok?
Mount Batur, Kintamani
Mount Batur is an active volcano on Bali (last activity was in 2000) near the town of Kintamani. Pictures can’t show how pretty and grand it is in person. To the right of the volcano is Lake Batur.
The black part of the mountain towards the front is dead vegetation from the last eruption.
Lake Batur, with Mount Abang behind it. It was really overcast so Mount Abang’s peak (on the right side of the photo) is hidden behind the clouds.
Tegallalang Rice Terrace
These cliffs of lush, sprawling rice terraces are located in the Tegallalang Village, about a half hour north of Ubud.
The ancient rice-growing agricultural society in the Tegallalang village operates with elaborate engineering and shared labor from the entire community.
Below you can see a Balinese man farming the rice.
Coffee Plantation, Kintamani
The rich volcanic soil and the climate in the Kintamani region are ideal for growing coffee, and there are many coffee farms scattered around the island. I stopped in to one of Bali’s many plantations for a tour and coffee and tea tasting.
Ripe coffee cherries. The “bean” that we are used to seeing is actually the seed of the cherry.
Coffee beans before they are roasted.
Coffee beans being roasted the old fashioned way.
A selection of coffee and teas to taste.
One thing to note: this planation also had “luwak coffee”. Luwak coffee is made from beans that are partially digested and then pooped out by a Luwak, a catlike creature. Supposedly the beans ferment in the Luwak’s stomach, giving the beans a unique flavor. It’s considered the most expensive coffee in the world, with a cup selling for as much as $80 in the United States. I didn’t buy any at the plantation, having never heard of it and being shocked by the price tag. Instead, I opted to grab a bag of just regular old coffee. When I got home, I was researching Luwak coffee and learned that the majority of Luwak coffee is harvested from caged Luwaks under terrible living conditions. I don’t know if the planation I visited does this or not (they said that theirs are kept in the wild), but either way, I was happy to not support such a cruel industry.
Tirta Empul Temple, Tampak Suring
Tirta Empul Temple (aka the Holy Spring Water Temple) is a Hindu water temple where the Balinese go to for ritual purification. The temple has a spring that produces an endless supply of fresh water and is considered holy by the Balinese.
Below, you can see people lining up to bathe in the spring water. Yudana explained that the water is believed to be the source of life and prosperity, so people will come to the temple to pray and bathe when they are experiencing hardship.
At the entry to the spring, there is an alter where the Balinese leave offerings to the gods (usually flowers, fruit and incense).
Offerings at the temple before a religious ceremony.
Another part of the temple.
Modest attire is required, so the temple had sarongs they loaned to women who were wearing shorts or a skirt.
Dinner at Jimbaran Bay
I wrapped up the trip with dinner on the beach in Jimbaran Bay before heading to the airport. There are tons of restaurants selling grilled seafood and I just kind of picked one at random. While I didn’t love my particular meal, it was a very nice setting and a relaxing end to the trip (other than random people stopping to ask me why I was alone).
A shot of Jimbaran Bay in the evening:
There were a lot of restaurants serving fresh seafood with impressive storefronts like the one below:
But each restaurant had a bunch of tables out back right on the beach.
Dinner came with fresh coconut juice, which was nice and refreshing after a day of being outside.
A mixed platter of various seafood: crab, shrimp, calamari, fish, clams, rice and chinese spinach.